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Utah high court halts adoption by second same-sex parents

[JURIST] The Utah Supreme Court [official website] issued a stay on Friday temporarily halting adoptions [per curiam order, PDF] by second parents in legally wed same-sex couples. In December, the US District Court for the District of Utah [official website] ruled that Utah's constitutional and statutory bans on same-sex marriage violate due process and equal protection [JURIST report]. In light of the court's overturning the ban, over 1,300 same-sex couples wed in Utah [Reuters report] before the US Supreme Court [official website] put a temporary hold on the marriages [JURIST report] two weeks later while the state appealed the district court ruling. The Utah Supreme Court's ruling comes in response to several state court judges' orders requiring the Utah Department of Health [official website] to issue birth certificates [AP report] in same-sex parent adoptions. The court has not yet announced [press release] a date for oral arguments.

The legal debate over same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most active legal issues in the US. In recent months a number of states have faced challenges regarding the constitutionality of denying same-sex partners equal spousal rights. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled unanimously in February that a woman in a same-sex marriage may adopt her partner's birth children , setting the precedent for second-parent adoption in Idaho. The rule is not limited to same-sex couples, affirming the law in Idaho that any state resident over 18 may adopt a child if the statutory requirements are met. A week before US Attorney General Eric Holder announced the federal government plans to give married same-sex couples the same benefits as heterosexual couples [JURIST report] when filing for bankruptcy, testifying in court or visiting family members in prison. On Monday four legally married same-sex couples in the state of Ohio filed a lawsuit in federal court, seeking a court order to force the state of Ohio to recognize [JURIST report] both spouses' names on birth certificates.

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